Ever wondered why no matter how many times you say something, the other person just doesn’t get it the way you want them to? Part of the reason is that each of the Health Types are wired to communicate differently. People aren’t trying to be annoying, boring, or ignorant – you’re just saying one thing, and they’re hearing something else.
Think of it as different languages, each with their own words, and specific rules for how to order the words and how to pronounce them. The meaning of any language is in its interpretation – so just because you think you’ve said something, doesn’t mean that’s how it was interpreted.
Here are some key tips for communicating with Activators & Connectors.
Both these types are present focused. They need to feel engaged and interested in the moment. A great way to engage them is to make it personal – why does what you’re trying to say matter to them now? How can they be a big help to you? What do they want?
It’s really important things feel fair for them and they’re not being ‘bossed around’ or threatened at all – if they do, they’ll probably fire up and let you know how they feel, possibly colourfully. Not because they’re selfish or rude, they’re just naturally expressive.
When either an Activator or a Connector wants to express something, let them. It might seem like an inappropriate time to you, but for them, it’s really important that the moment is captured and the thought or feeling is expressed when it’s fresh. Respond to them promptly too – just as they needed to express in the moment, they appreciate getting your feedback in that moment.
Activators – Key Tips
Be direct. Don’t go on with all the background, the details, the future possibilities and long winded stories. Just say it how it is, now. If they want more details, they’ll ask until they’re satisfied so they can get on with it. If an activator gets the sense that you’re going on and on, this is likely to frustrate them.
Avoid judgement. Words like “should” or “must” might seem like you’re just giving advice or simple directions, but it can feel like judgement to an Activator. Phrase what you want to get across as questions instead, “Could you…?”
Don’t interrupt them. If they’re busy doing something, they’ll be fully focused and present in doing it. Interrupting this is very frustrating to an activator, which they can feel strongly, and then need to express. What is ‘sociable chit chat’ for you can aggravate an Activator if they’re in the middle of eating, exercising or any task. So ask first if they can talk with you now, and if they say no, don’t push it.
Connectors – Key Tips
Be emotive – use expressive language and gesture, really focus on being engaging and vibrant in how you speak with them. If it’s a serious matter, you can still be very sincere while showing the emotion. The Connector feels what you’re saying in how you say it.
It’s all about the story. Tell them the story, with all its colour, to make it come alive for them. Just focusing on facts can be dull, and can make a Connector feel like you’re not really talking to them. They need to feel it. Just like they need to feel it when they’re talking, by telling you a colourful story.
Talk to them! If a Connector is withdrawn this is often a sign that they’re not happy or comfortable about something, but not sure how to express it and want you to check on them. They usually don’t want to bring others down, so if you notice this, or you’re at first told “It’s nothing” – keep gently asking and let them know you want to listen and help so they can open up about what they need to.
It can be really tricky communicating in a way that doesn’t come naturally to you. It might seem forced, fake or just plain strange to you. You’re speaking someone else’s language though, so of course it will be very different. You don’t judge another language as ‘wrong’ because they order their sentences differently. You accept it, and learn it.
The best thing you can do, for yourself and the other person, is to be honest. Say that you’re trying to connect and understand each other better. And ask them if it’s working. Do they like that you did it this way, or would they prefer you did/ said something differently? It takes time and practice to learn a new language. And the best way to learn it, is to practice with a native speaker. Start off with someone you trust so you can get your bearings.
Remember, everyone is so much more than just their Health Type. Don’t be surprised if someone doesn’t fit the box and respond to all the general principles of their type. Interestingly, many people can in fact have communication characteristics of a very different type to their ‘main’ type. Always get to know someone personally.
If you’re fascinated and want to learn more, there are heaps of fantastic learning opportunities. The Coaching and Resources sections in your profile have loads of material. To go deeper, find out about the ph360 ½ Day Workshops, or the full 6 Week Mastery Series.
The more we learn, and the more we practice, the better we can be at truly connecting with and understanding each other.
Read about communicating with Guardians & Diplomats!
Read about communicating with Sensors & Crusaders!
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